Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

“Girls playing sports is not about winning gold medals. It’s about self-esteem, learning to compete and learning how hard you have to work in order to achieve your goals.” — Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Okay, so the first image that comes to your mind when you think of “athletes” are of the male variety– Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, LeBron James…. But what about female athletes? Maybe they’re not as discussed as the male ones, but they’ve earned their merits- think, Maria Sharipova, Michelle Wie, or Danica Patrick, amongst plenty of others…
When you think about it, female athletes are and seemingly always have been at somewhat of a disadvantage in American sports culture. It seems like since the beginning of time, sporting events have always been about men competing- think of the original Olympic games or the jousting events of Ancient Greece and Medieval Europe, respectively. Perhaps this came from the long-held misconception that women should be strictly responsible for raising the family and being the mistress of the house.
Today, these archaic beliefs and our culture’s obsession with a particular type of women’s sexuality put female athletes at even more of a disadvantage. Their healthy bodies and strong spirits do not necessarily fit into the media’s battering ram of other images of women. Women that we see in advertising and on magazine covers are slim (sometimes to the point of anorexia), small, weak, and gaze at you with that, “Take me to the bedroom now” look. Women in advertising and magazines don’t have the strength of body and spirit that female athletes do, and this makes female athletes unsure about their roll in life.
On the one hand, girls who play sports are taught to be tough, not sweat the small stuff and to believe in oneself. After all, what shot could be made without a huge dose of self confidence? On the other hand, many female athletes don’t have the very slim body that is perpetuated in the media they consume. And while they may strive for that singular body type, developing eating disorders disables female athletes from excelling in their chosen sport.
Thus a conundrum is faced. On the one hand, many women’s magazines have joined a movement of female empowerment and highlight these women for young girls to emulate. On the other hand, female athletics are not taken as seriously in the media.
When was the last time you discussed the WNBA? This lack of respect for female athletes in the sexy spreads that they model for in magazines and online “hottest athlete babe” countdowns.
On a happier note, despite the media’s limited view of feminine beauty that maybe doesn’t accept the stocky female lacrosse player or the tall, lanky female basketball player, these women have and continue to be role models for young girls. They often times overcome a great many obstacles to stand where they stand today and thus continuously inspire. They make young girls who play sports believe that they too can beat the odds. And in the end, having beautiful, intelligent, athletic role models is not a bad thing.

I won’t proclaim myself an expert on how to communicate risk. However, I will say that it is an area of interest. I am known for helping my friends and family solve their problems and, after I realized that, I also realized that maybe I could do that professionally. Also, as I lie in bed with a bad case of poison oak (risk of living out of town), I figured that risk communication would be a good thing to talk about. So, after some research, here’s my very basic guide to risk communication.

Let’s start out by defining risk communication. In it’s very basic sense, risk communication is prevention work; prevention against bad things happening. Of course, in life and in business bad things happen and we can’t avoid them all. (I have poison oak, remember?). If you get into a problem and then are trying to solve it after everything’s gone down, then you’re into crisis communication work, at least according to Peter Sandman, one of the experts in this field. But we’re not going to talk about crisis communication in this post- we’ll stick with prevention.

So here it goes, what I’ve learned about risk communication from Peter Sandman and the Center For Risk Communication about communicating risk goes as follows. What it comes down to, is that people have to feel like they can trust you. This gets down to the basics of communication. When discussing risk be caring and empathetic, be dedicated to solving the problem and be trustworthy and transparent.

People appreciate honesty in all types of communication, but in this kind in particular because of the sensitive nature of the discussion. Think about how you would want someone to communicate with you concerning a topic that you were sensitive to, and then turn that around.

It’s about kindness, everyone, and compassion. We’re all trying to help each other out, and in our uncertain world, a solid grasp about how to communicate bad things is of vital importance.